New students

As a student here, our libraries will quickly become one of your regular ports of call - whether it's using our online Library Search to find the books on your reading list, talking to your Academic Liaison Librarian about the best research materials for your coursework, or just finding a quiet space to do some study.

You'll be expected to do lots of reading outside your classes, so getting acquainted with your library and its resources is one of the first things you should do when you arrive.

Our orientation videos below give you a taste of what Library and IT Services have to offer, with short snippets on key features you'll need to get to grips with on arrival at the University.

We recommend that you also download our Library and IT guide (PDF) for an overview of what's available.

Watch our orientation video for an introduction to Cavendish library. 

Our libraries

For most of the academic year, our libraries are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Detailed opening times can be found on our library pages.

Your main tool for searching our library resources is Library Search. Here you’ll find items on your reading list, including books, e-books, journals, films, music and the University archives collection. More information about accessing our e-resources from University or home can be found on our Guides and tutorials page.

The main books and other reference materials you'll need for your course can be found at your campus library. You can, however, borrow items from and visit any of our four campus libraries and can borrow up to 15 items at a time. You can also widen your search by using other libraries.

Your University ID card works as your library card and allows you to log into printers and photocopiers, as well as borrow books, multimedia items and library laptops.

If you can't find what you're looking for or just aren't sure where to start, ask at the library counter. If you have any queries related to course reference materials or reading lists, talk to your Academic Liaison Librarian.

Our glossary of library terms can help you get to grips with the language used in our libraries.

Computer rooms and study spaces

We provide flexible options for studying – silent and quiet study areas are available in each library, as well as group study rooms, which you can book online. You can also borrow laptops for a 24-hour period – just ask our library counter staff.

All of our campuses feature computer rooms with PCs, Macs and a range of software, as well as printers and photocopiers. You'll find wifi access in all our libraries and campuses.

Specialist computing facilities are also available at some faculties – check our computer rooms pages or speak to faculty staff.

If you'll be investing in a laptop, PC or any software during your studies, make sure you take advantage of the student IT discounts. And if you already have a computer, we have free antivirus software available for you, as well as IT security tips to help you protect your privacy and keep your files and work safe.

Important information about managing your University password and email account can be found on the University password and email account page.


When completing your coursework, you'll be expected to read and appropriately cite other research on the topic.

Before you start your first piece of coursework, look at our step-by-step guides on researching your assignments and referencing your work.

While at university, you'll need to develop your academic writing, which is a particular style of formal writing that you'll be expected to use in any written work. The University offers advice, training and workshops on this and other key skills, such as time management.

Support and training

To get the most out of our library resources, sign up for one of our Academic Liaison Librarians’ training sessions. The librarians also offer drop-in sessions on specific topics like academic referencing. Details are on our Library training page.

If you want to brush up on or expand your digital skills, or even get an IT qualification, check out our IT training courses.

Keep in touch

If you have any questions you can:

  • Speak to a member of staff at the library counter
  • Call the Service Desk (FixIT) on ext 5488
  • Use our Ask-a-librarian service, which is there for all your general library questions – you’ll get a response within 48 hours.
  • Speak to our Academic Liaison Librarians, who can assist with more specific, course-related queries, for example if you can't find an item on your reading list or aren't sure where you should start your coursework research.
  • You'll also find useful links and resources for your subject on your Academic Liaison Librarian's webpage.
  • Follow us on Twitter for library news and information, and to ask us any questions:@UniWestLib

If you have any feedback on our library or IT services, fill in one of our feedback cards that are available at each library.

Student in a bookshop

Finding and borrowing

See what's available in our libraries and how to access your library account.

Download the Essential Library and IT guide

Read through the guide for an introduction to our key resources and services.